Harry Tattan-Birch is a PhD student in Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, with an interest in the application of novel statistical methods to addiction research. His doctoral research focuses on the use of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products for cigarette smoking cessation and harm reduction.
What are people vaping in England? Trends in usage and purchase of e-cigarette device types and heated tobacco products from 2016 to 2020
To measure trends from 2016 to 2020 in England of: (i) use of e-cigarette device types, Juul and heated tobacco products; (ii) use of different e-liquid nicotine concentrations; and (iii) where vaping supplies are purchased.
Data came from the Smoking Toolkit Study, a representative monthly cross-sectional survey of the population in England. 3,786 alternative nicotine delivery system (ANDS) users were asked about their use of tank, pod, mod, disposable, and Juul e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. E-cigarette users were asked which nicotine concentration they mainly use and where they buy their vaping supplies.
Overall, e-cigarettes were used by 98.7% (95% CrI = 98.4%-99.0%) of ANDs users, Juul e-cigarettes by 5.1% (4.1%-6.1%), and HTPs by 2.2% (1.8%-2.7%). Among e-cigarette users, 53.7% (52.0%-55.1%) used tank devices, 23.7% (22.4%-25.1%) used mods, 17.3% (16.1%-18.4%) used pods, and 5.4% (4.7%-6.2%) used disposables. From 2016 to 2020, tank e-cigarettes were consistently the most commonly used device type. Mod e-cigarettes were the second most commonly used device type until 2020, when pod e-cigarettes overtook them. HTP use remains relatively rare, whereas Juul use rose year-on-year from 2018. Across all years, ≤6mg/ml was the most commonly used (41.0%; 39.4%-42.4%) nicotine concentration. Concentrations of >20mg/ml were rarely used (4.1%; 3.4%-4.9%). Specialist vape shops were the most widely used sources of vaping products from 2016-2020. Overall, 42.1% (40.4%-43.6%) of e-cigarette users bought their vaping products from specialist vape shops.
Choices of e-cigarette device types have stayed relatively stable from 2016 to 2020 in England, with tank e-cigarettes the most popular. Heated tobacco product use is still uncommon, but Juul is now used by around one-in-ten ANDS users. Low (<6mg/ml) nicotine concentrations have remained most popular, and specialist vape shops remain the most widely used source of purchase of vaping supplies.